Understanding Academic Integrity
"Nothing is at last sacred but the integrity of your own mind."
— Ralph Waldo Emerson
Academic dishonesty is one of the most difficult and serious issues that educators have to deal with, and this is even more of a concern within e-learning largely due to the perceived anonymity between the faculty and students. How do you, as an online faculty member, handle all of the facets of this problem? The first step you should take is to carefully review the academic integrity policies of your university. Policies like these have been carefully composed and publicly posted for the benefit and direction of the entire learning community, so don’t neglect this helpful resource. Check particularly for conduct and communication policies. Western Michigan University provides a good example. Many schools point to five main types of academic dishonesty:
- Cheating. Cheating is intentionally using or attempting to use unauthorized materials, information, notes, study aids or other devices or materials in any academic exercise.
- Fabrication, falsification, and forgery. Fabrication is the intentional invention and unauthorized alteration of any information or citation in an academic exercise. Falsification is a matter of altering information, while fabrication is a matter of inventing or counterfeiting information for use in any academic exercise. Forgery is defined as the imitation or counterfeiting of documents, signatures, and the like.
- Multiple submission. This is the submission of substantial portions of the same work (including oral reports) for credit more than once without authorization from instructors of all classes for which the student submits the work. In other words, this is when students turn in the same thing for two different assignments.
- Plagiarism. Plagiarism is intentional, knowingly, or carelessly presenting the work of another as one’s own (i.e., without proper acknowledgment of the source). The sole exception to the requirement of acknowledging sources is when the ideas, information, etc., are common knowledge.
- Complicity. Complicity is intentionally or knowingly helping or attempting to help another to commit an act of academic dishonesty.